High Point, NC – The High Point University men’s lacrosse team practiced with the U.S. National Team on Saturday morning in Durham, N.C. The Panthers were able to practice and play against some of the best lacrosse players in the world, a great experience for the team which begins official play in 2012-13.
“It was an incredible opportunity for our guys to play against the best players in the world,” said HPU head coach Jon Torpey. “U.S. Lacrosse was very kind to give us the chance to do this.”
“The guys our team practiced with are extremely skilled and athletic. They have exactly what we want our guys to be shooting for,” said Torpey. “We talk to our guys about getting better every day and doing the things that the best players in the world do. To see what the best players in the world do and play against them live is a valuable experience our guys will have for the rest of their lives.”
The Panthers are in a unique situation while building the program. HPU has 19 student-athletes on campus this year but the team doesn’t start official play until 2012-13. The Panthers are practicing every day and the coaching staff is trying to give them competition opportunities as well.
“We’re trying to give our team as many opportunities as we can to stay hungry throughout the fall and the spring,” said Torpey. “Any opportunity we get to play against outside competition is going to be phenomenal for these guys this year. Obviously, to get a chance to play against an opponent this great is almost too good to be true.”
The opportunity wasn’t lost on High Point University’s student-athletes.
“This was a great opportunity, we got to go up and down with the best players in the world,” said freshman Mitchell Dupere (Raleigh, N.C. /Needham B. Broughton). “Not many teams can say they have the ability to do that. It was a really cool experience. It was our offense against the best defense in the world and our defense against the best offense in the world. It was just a really cool experience.”
High Point University announced the addition of varsity men’s lacrosse in September 2011 and announced that Torpey would join HPU as head coach two months later. The Panthers’ initial recruiting class consists of two juniors, one sophomore and 16 freshmen.
Saturday’s practice was the final time this semester that High Point will face outside competition. In their only scrimmage this Fall, High Point defeated the University of Tennessee club team on Oct. 1 in Knoxville, Tenn. The Panthers will continue to practice throughout the rest of the semester and will have more scrimmages in the Spring.